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Hack School Project Management

Take 11 minutes and watch this video...

 

It's refreshing to see a kid like Logan communicate so eloquently. Having taught graduate school for 12 years and consulted for over 20 years, I can honestly say most of the adults I meet can't articulate what they want to be when they grow up.

I've pretty much figured out that being a contented accomplisher is my calling in life. Sometimes this takes the form of speaker; other times it's being an author. But at my core, I'm always a project manager. And as a project manager, I've figured intuitively how to be "hack school" over the years. Logan's description of hack school is spot on:

Hackers are innovators, hackers are people who challenge and change the systems to make them work differently, to make them work better, it’s just how they think, it’s a mindset...

I take advantage of opportunities in my community, and through a network of my friends and family. I take advantage of opportunities to experience what I’m learning, and I’m not afraid to look for shortcuts or hacks to get a better faster result. It’s like a remix or a mash-up of learning. It’s flexible, opportunistic, and it never loses sight of making happy, healthy and creativity a priority.

Picasso QuoteOnce, I was brought onto a client because a person wanted to learn from me as I managed a major project for her organization. A couple of months into my contract, this individual took a seven-week online project management class. Voila... the class turned her into an instant "expert" in project management. She started taking glee in pointing out all the things I didn't do according to her instructor and text book. The problem with her approach was that I was actually getting results by doing things my way. I knew how to do things "by the book" but the difference between knowledge and wisdom is knowing when drop the book. (Purely unrelated, I'm thinking of switching physicians... do you know anybody who completed medical school in seven weeks online?)

A few years ago, Dr. Delaney Kirk sent me an article about the main reason fire fighters die when working on wild fires: When surrounded by flames, they focus too much on saving their tools and equipment and not enough on just running to save their own lives. That really sums up my project management "hack school" mindset. I love tools, by the way. A great project plan can save months and dollars to an organization. A well-written status report can bring critical issues to light. Issues logs cut through office politics. I love tools, but I don't rely on them. What I rely on is the ability to accomplish a successful end result.

So what about you? Are you more "by the book" or "hack school"? How can you start dropping your tools? Who knows? By doing so, you might just grow up to be happy and healthy.

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Comments

Barb

I am thankful for my old-fashioned parochial school education and also for growing up in a large family. Since we didn't have much money, I appreciated the education and made the most of all the opportunities there. We made our own entertainment. "Go outside and play." I agree with the list of eight items. I was fortunate to live at a time when that not only made sense, but was natural. It almost seems strange to me that it needs to be spelled out, but times have changed.

Marble Hill Partners

I think it is true that really creative people don't always make a success of traditional schooling and maybe it is a fault that the underfunded school system that cannot always give children a full creative outlet, because the arts are the area funding is not considered essential this is what suffers. This is where parents need to make sure the children have outlets for originality and free thinking. I ask my children what they want to be when they grow up, they answer a ninja and a princess and that's just fine. If being creative, thinking differently and being free makes happier kids I will do what I can to encourage this but they do need to learn how to follow the rules too. It's all about getting the balance right surely?

Jim

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